By Rob Gonsalves, Special to the Neighb News
Now that we’re cooped up inside for a while, a lot of streaming services have jumped in to give us things to watch, often with free trial periods. So let’s look at a few.
ACORN TV (acorn.tv), which specializes in British television like Doc Martin and Midsommer Murders among many others, is offering a 30-day free trial of their service. Use the code FREE30. Incidentally, the Millicent Library is (or was, before the plague) considering subscribing to this service for card-holding library patrons to use, so if you do the trial and like what you see, let us know (once we’re open again).
SHUDDER (www.shudder.com), home to a bunch of classic and indie horror films as well as original content, is also sharing a 30-day free trial with the code SHUTIN.
SUNDANCE NOW (www.sundancenow.com), which concentrates on indie films and documentaries, has a 30-day free trial offer going. The code is SUNDANCENOW30.
SLING TV (www.sling.com) has announced a “Stay In and Sling” initiative, “providing news, plus thousands of shows and movies for the whole family, with no paid SLING TV account required.”
UMC (umc.tv), or Urban Movie Channel, is devoted to “feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content for African American and urban audiences.” Right now they’re offering 30 days free with the code UMCFREE30.
FILM MOVEMENT PLUS (www.filmmovementplus.com) deals in art-house and world cinema. They want to give you a 30-day free trial plus 50% off your first paid month. The code is PLUS50.
MOVIESPREE (www.moviespree.com) is offering 100 free movies with the code MOVIESPREE100FREE. There’s a lot of cheese on there (nine of Andy Sidaris’ T&A actioners, for instance) but also some good stuff, including the cult TV series The Kids in the Hall.
That should be a good start. In addition, various films that have played in theaters recently have been made available for streaming early (in some cases, very early) because theaters have been closed everywhere. Disney has put its latest Pixar film, Onward, up for rental for $19.99; the movie only opened in theaters two weeks ago. If twenty bucks seems steep for a rental, consider that most of the titles with that cost will be viewable for a few days, and it’s cheaper than movie tickets (and concession snacks) for a family of four. Other movies coming out for purchase or rental on streaming services: the Ben Affleck drama The Way Back (available March 24), the DC Comics flick Birds of Prey (March 24), the Vin Diesel flop Bloodshot (March 24), the latest version of Jane Austen’s Emma (March 20), the controversial thriller The Hunt (March 20), the popular Elisabeth Moss horror film The Invisible Man (March 20), the faith-based I Still Believe (March 27), and Trolls World Tour (April 10, bypassing a theatrical release altogether). Also, Frozen 2 appeared on Disney+ on March 15, several months before it was supposed to.
So what does this all mean for the future of movie exhibition? Some say the convenience of watching a new blockbuster in the safety of one’s own home is toothpaste that won’t be put back in the tube so easily. Others say, and I concur, that once all this blows over — and it will — people will want to congregate more than ever, and get together and laugh and cry and gasp together again at movies (or sports events or whatever). This all may leave people with a greater appreciation of the arts — the misfits and dreamers who made the movies and TV many of us are binge-watching.
Personally? I predict the first big movie to bow after the all-clear is sounded will be huge. People will be champing at the bit to get out of the house again, to be transported by the big rectangle in the dark, to be told a story collectively, as an audience. Here’s hoping the movie is worth it. And here’s hoping for better tomorrows for you and me. We’ll get there.
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